PhD position - Formation of Liposomes

Context & Job description

Project title: Formation of Liposomes – Shining Light (and Neutrons and X-Rays) on an Industrially Relevant Process

The main aspect of this project is the investigation of the formation process of phospholipid (PL) liposomes which are of importance for industrial formulations in pharmacology and cosmetics. Typically, liposomes are obtained by injecting a concentrated ethanolic PL solution into water and subsequent application of shear to reduce the liposome size and make them colloidally stable. However, despite the importance of this process, still little is known about the mesoscopic structural changes taking place during liposome formation.

The aim of this project is to change this situation by studying first the phase behaviour and the mesoscopic structure (light and neutron scattering) of pure PLs together with different alcohols before and after the injection, and then after the subsequent shear treatment. In order to gain insight into the kinetics of the injection (and thereby formation) process, stopped-flow turbidity, SANS, and SAXS/WAXS experiments will done. Then the study shall be extended to mixed PL systems containing other components such as cholesterol. Here also the bending rigidity of the PL bilayers will be determined by NSE. From this comprehensive investigation a thorough understanding of PL liposome formation will be derived, as it is needed to develop more stable and functional liposome formulations.

Further information may be obtained from Michael Gradzielski (tel.: +49 30 314 24934, email: Joachim Venzmer (tel.: +49 201 173 2302, email: and from Ingo Hoffmann (tel.: +33 4 76 20 72 66, email:

Expected profile

  • Degree allowing enrollment for a PhD (such as MSc, Master 2 de Recherche, Laurea or equivalent) in physics, materials science, chemistry or closely related science
  • A background in soft matter science is desirable.  Knowledge of scattering techniques and basic programming skills would be an advantage
  • Proficiency in English  (A proof of upper-intermediate level would be advantageous and can be provided in the application. Applicants originating from native-English-speaking countries can apply without the need for proof of level. An official degree conducted in English will be also accepted as a proof; Students without proof upper-intermediate level may still apply and their level of English will be checked during the interview.)
  • Compliance with the Marie Sklodowska-Curie mobility rule: candidates may not have resided or carried out their main activity (work, studies, etc.) in France for more than twelve months in the three years immediately before the date of recruitment.
  • At the date of recruitment, early-stage researchers must be in the first four years of their research careers and have not yet been awarded a doctoral degree.
  • Candidates must satisfy the conditions for enrollment in a doctoral programme

More details about the application procedure on

Working conditions

The successful candidate will be enrolled at the TU Berlin (Germany) and based full-time at the ILL (Grenoble, France), other than a 4-month secondment at Evonik Nutrition&Care in Essen, Germany. Additional visits totaling no more than 3 months may be made to TU Berlin when needed. Furthermore, a varied pedagogical training programme will be offered to the successful candidate throughout the 3-year PhD project.

More details on the InnovaXN programme on

Company description

InnovaXN is a Horizon 2020 MSCA COFUND programme providing an opportunity for 40 industrial companies to work with 40 PhD students, performing advanced research and exploiting the unique characterisation techniques of the ESRF and ILL. Through collaborations with industry, innovation will be the central theme of the programme. This will provide a unique cross academic-industry science setting, secondment opportunities and society-relevant research, training the future key researchers able to tackle major research and societal challenges.

The equal opportunity policies of the ESRF and ILL have been in place for many years. These policies focus on gender balance, cultural diversity and inclusion of disabled staff.

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